EQUUS - - Tack & Gear -

this is the first sign of al­ler­gies or some other prob­lem---and re­duce the risk of some­thing mi­nor be­com­ing se­ri­ous be­fore it is de­tected and treated.”


A “wet” or “pro­duc­tive” cough ex­pels mu­cus. “Coughs of this na­ture usu­ally orig­i­nate in the tra­chea and bronchial tree and in­di­cate that th­ese air­ways are in­flamed,” Buech­ner-Maxwell says. “How­ever, air­way in­flam­ma­tion oc­curs with a num­ber of dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, in­clud­ing vi­ral and bac­te­rial in­fec­tions as well as equine heaves.”

The color and thick­ness of the mu­cus pro­duced of­fers clues to the na­ture of the prob­lem. A horse with al­ler­gies will pro­duce thin, clear or light-col­ored mu­cus, whereas a horse with a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion will pro­duce nasal dis­charge that is thicker and yel­low/white in color. Vi­ral in­fec­tions and other ail­ments fall some­where be­tween those ex­tremes.

One quick way to dis­tin­guish an in­fec­tious from a non­in­fec­tious source of cough is to take the horse’s tem­per­a­ture. “Heaves would typ­i­cally not cause a fever,” John­son says. “One hint that it might be a vi­ral in­fec­tion is the fact that fev­ers are of­ten ini­tially higher. The dis­charge when the horse coughs tends to be more wa­tery, com­pared to thicker dis­charge from a bac­te­rial in­fec­tion.”

If you sus­pect your horse has an in­fec­tion, you’ll want to call the vet­eri­nar­ian and take ac­tion to pro­tect the rest of the herd. “If you have rea­son to think it might be an in­fec­tion---even if it’s just one horse in the group cough­ing ---you should iso­late that horse,” says Buech­ner-Maxwell. “If there’s a nasal dis­charge, even if it’s clear, or some swollen lymph nodes when you feel around on the neck, or a mild fever, you should move that horse away from the oth­ers.” A cough­ing horse with a res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness can eas­ily spread it to other herd­mates. Af­ter mov­ing the horse, be sure to wash up and maybe even change your clothes be­fore han­dling other horses.

A num­ber of ill­nesses and con­di­tions can cause horses to cough. Here are a few of the more com­mon ones:

• as­pi­ra­tion pneu­mo­nia— type of pneu­mo­nia that de­vel­ops when for­eign ma­te­rial is drawn into the lungs.

• in­flam­ma­tory air­way dis­ease (IAD)—a lit­tle-un­der­stood con­di­tion com­monly found in young race­horses and per­for­mance horses who pe­ri­od­i­cally per­form poorly, with or with­out cough­ing. Ex­cess mu­cus and in­flam­ma­tory cells are usu­ally found ex­am­i­na­tions of su “small air­way dise

• in­fluenza— vi­ral in­fec­tion invo tract. Marked b nasal muc conju s mus­cle, equine in­fluenza is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with high

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